Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain & injury Nashville

Shoulder Pain

Our shoulders are the most movable joints in the body. They give our arms great range of motion. The allow us to lift and control heavy loads.

Shoulder pain is often caused by overuse or injury. It can happen because of tendon tears or other soft tissue problems. It can be caused by bursitis. That’s painful swelling of a fluid-filled sac we call a “bursa”. It can be caused by bone spurs. As we age, shoulder pain is often caused by arthritis. And, sometimes pain you feel in the shoulder is actually caused by a problem in another area of the body, such as the neck or lungs.

Causes of Shoulder Pain

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is a condition that causes stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint.

The exact cause is not fully understood, but the problem is with the shoulder’s joint capsule. That’s a membrane that surrounds the joint. With frozen shoulder, this membrane thickens. Bands of tissue we call “adhesions” develop.  It may be related to inflammation, injury, surgery, or certain medical conditions like diabetes. 

Frozen shoulder most commonly affects older individuals and progresses through three stages: freezing, frozen, and thawing.

Symptoms start slowly, with mild pain. Over a few months, the pain gets worse. You may experience difficulty sleeping, and limited range of motion in the affected shoulder.

Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder

Osteoarthritis Shoulder Treatment Nashville

Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative arthritis, is a gradual breakdown of cartilage in the joints.

Eventually, the bone of the humerus may rub directly against the bone of the shoulder socket causing the gradual growth of bony bumps along the edge of the joint called bone spurs causing joint pain.

Osteoarthritis commonly develops as a result of the wear and tear of aging or traumatic injury to the joint. It is more common in older people, women, and people who have occupations that place increased stress on the shoulder.  People who have certain diseases, bone deformities or a genetic predisposition are also at a higher risk.

Symptoms may include pain in the shoulder and arm and possibly increasing during movement. It may feel tender when pressure is applied, experience a grating sensation when moving the arm or feel stiff.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

Rotator Cuff Treatment Nashville

The rotator cuff, a group of muscles and tendons, holds the upper arm bone in the shoulder socket. Rotator cuff tears can occur due to traumatic events, repetitive arm motions, or structural problems in the shoulder. Sudden tears may result from a hard fall or incorrectly lifting heavy objects, while gradual tears can develop over time from repetitive overhead motions common in sports like tennis and baseball.

Muscle imbalances and shoulder impingement can also contribute to rotator cuff tears. In some cases, there is insufficient space between the rotator cuff and the acromion, a bony projection of the shoulder blade. This lack of space, caused by a poorly-shaped acromion, bone spurs, or joint swelling, can lead to pinching of the rotator cuff tendon during arm movement. As people age, the blood supply to the shoulder decreases, making it more difficult for the shoulder to repair itself after minor injuries, increasing the risk of tears.

Symptoms of rotator cuff tears include pain in the shoulder, even at rest, which may worsen when lifting the arm. Other signs include grinding or popping sounds during arm movement, weakness in the arm, and in severe cases, the inability to lift the arm at all.

Rotator Cuff Tear

Shoulder Injury Treatment Nashville

The rotator cuff, a group of muscles and tendons in each shoulder, plays a crucial role in keeping the upper arm bone stable within the shoulder socket while allowing for a wide range of motion, including lifting and rotating the arm. However, excessive stress on the rotator cuff can lead to a painful tear.

Rotator cuff tears can occur due to various reasons, such as a fall with an outstretched arm, attempting to lift a heavy object with a jerking motion, or as a result of normal wear and tear associated with aging, especially in individuals who engage in repetitive shoulder motions.

Common symptoms of a rotator cuff tear include pain in the shoulder, even during rest, which may intensify when lifting or lowering the arm. Additionally, individuals may experience weakness in the affected arm and a crackling sensation when moving the shoulder in certain directions.

Shoulder Pain Treatment Nashville

Glenoid Labrum Tear

A torn labrum, a common cause of shoulder pain, occurs when the thick band of tissue surrounding the shoulder socket is damaged. The labrum helps deepen the socket, cushioning the upper arm bone and preventing it from slipping out of place.

Labral tears can result from direct trauma to the shoulder, falling on an outstretched arm, lifting heavy objects, repetitive stress from weightlifting or sports like baseball or tennis. Symptoms include pain in the shoulder, especially when lifting the arm overhead, along with grinding, popping, catching, or locking sensations in the joint. The shoulder may feel unstable, weak, and have limited range of motion even during rest.


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